James Wayland Joyce.

England's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic online

. (page 65 of 83)
Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 65 of 83)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

t April 16.

" Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 317.

* Lath., p.
195 note,
quotes Tan-
ner, MSS.
p. 282.
" Strype's
Wliitgift, p.
211. ^ ^

following Sunday, and stand with a faggot upon his shoulders
before the preacher; and secondly, that he should make a
recantation in S. Martin's church where Dr. Cotton was to
deliver a sermon in the presence of the lower house of convo-
cation, and that he should not again presume himself to preach
or exercise his ministry without a special licence from the arch-
bishop. For the due performance'' of this penance Hilton
was bound under a recognizance of 500?. to the crown.

Six articles were also passed in this con-

Six articles , , ^

passed iu this sy- vocatiou, and rcceivcd full synodical sanction °.
Their titles were of the tenour following : —

1. That fit menP be admitted to holy orders and benefices
ecclesiastical. 2, Of regulating the commutation of solemn
penance. 3. Of moderating some indulgences for the cele-
bration of holy matrimony without thrice asking the banns.
4. Concerning the restraining and reforming of some excesses
about excommunication. 5. For restraining the plurality of
benefices. 6. Concerning fees that are owing to the ecclesias-
tical officers and their servants.

To these was added a memorandum that each bishop should
inquire into the state of the clergy, and also into the value of
the benefices within his diocese, and certify the same to the
archbishop. It may be observed that these articles em-
braced matters which we have seen debated in previous
synods ; and further, that they were incorporated '^ with others
and again synodically confirmed 'ii some years afterwards, in
October, 1597.

This synod '^ was so busily engaged in regulating eccle-
siastical business, that they held twenty sessions between the
date of their assembly^ and the 31st of March, 1585, on
which day the preceding articles were confirmed by the queen,
the convocation then sitting at S. PauFs. And subsequently*
they were set forth under the archiepiscopal hand and seal,
with an assertion of their synodical " authority, and a mandate
ordering that they should be observed through the province of

At this time ", also, other orders were set

Other orders

set forth in this forth by the synod, as a means for secunng
*^°° ■ greater proficiency in learning among the in-

ferior clergy. They were directed^ — 1. to learn accurately




the order of reading the Common Prayer, as appointed in the
preface to that book ; 2. to study weekly a chapter in the Okl
and one in the New Testament, making notes thereon accord-
ing to the direction of their ordinary ; 3. to write quarterly a
Latin exercise upon some topic in divinity to be selected by the
bishop ; 4. those, however, who could not reach to such a per-
formance in Latin were allowed to make use of their mother
tongue ; and 5. these exercises were to be accounted for to
the ordinary, or, at least, to some person appointed by him.

A petition put ^^^ other point only as regards this con-
"P- vocation seems worthy of notice, which is that

the synod directed^ a petition to the queen against the bill
then pending in parliament for the restraint of pluralities.
This latter assembly, indeed, appears at this time to have
made great endeavours to interfere in ecclesiastical matters.
But it can hardly be supposed that the puritanical influences
there at work were heartily directed to the extension and
confirmation of the Church, notwithstanding some flimsy
pretences of good will. The truth is that by covert means
trenches were being opened from which it was hoped, as
indeed came to pass, that the citadel might eventually be
stormed and taken. The last^ meeting of this synod before
separation was held on May 2P, from which day the assembly
was further continued.

^,^^ ^ . The northern and southern convocations were

XIII. Frovm- i k • i

ciai synods of suuimoned to meet ^ on the same day '', in the
autumn of L586. It appears however that the
northern synod on this occasion preceded the other in its first
formal meeting, and therefore it is here placed first in order.

York provin- The members ^ of the York provincial Synod
ciai synod. j^q^ [j^ ^}jq Cathedral of that province on the

1 6th of October, Edwyn Sandys being still their metropolitan ;
and the assembly was continued from time to time until
March 23, 1587 n.s.
^, . ,. , In the preface to their subsidy a long address

Their synodical ^ . , . , ® .

address to tiie was votcd to the queeu, m which notice was
*^^^'^*'"" taken of the great advantages accruing to the

realm, both spiritually and temporally, from her majesty's
pious government, and especially from the publication of the
scriptures, the establishment of true religion, and the abolish-

A.D. 1585.
Q. Eliz.

f Cone.
Mas. Brit,
iv. 308.^
Card. Syn.
p. 566. '

y Sess. 21.
^ 1585.

A.D. 1586.

» Cone.

Mag. Brit.

iv. 321—


b Oct. 16.

c Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 323.




A.D. 1586.
John Whit-
gift, Edwyn

<< Cone.
Mas. Brit,
iv. 324.

e Cone.
Mac. Brit,
iv. 324.
<■« Vid. sup.
p. 367.
■ Cone.
Ma?. Brit,
iv. 324.
S Cone.
Ma<r. Brit,
iv. 325—
h Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 323.

' Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 324.

* Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 321.
Svn. An2.
ii: 137. "
Whitgift, I
260. Coll.
vii. .5.5.
I 1586.

"'Syn. Ang.
p. 139.
" Scss. ii.
Nov. 4.

ment of foreign jurisdiction. The necessity of munitions of
war for resisting the aggressions of enemies banded together
not only for the oppression of this realm, but the extirpation of
true religion, was remarked upon ; and therefore, as a pledge
of good Mill, fidelity, and duty, a subsidy of six shillings was
unanimously granted, in addition ^ to an extra benevolence of
throe shillings in the pound. As regards this extra benevo-
lence of three shillings in the pound, it is worthy of remark
that, in granting** it, the synod addressed her majesty for a
licence ^^ to make synodical decrees for levying it ; a request
which, as might be expected ^, they readily obtained, and of
which they availed themselves by passing thirteen canons ^
specifically directed to the object in hand.

Proctors' and The subjcct ^ of fecs payable to the proctors
officers' fees. ^j-^j other ccclcsiastical officers was also con-

sidered in this synod. It was agreed that all beneficed persons
above vicars should pay two-pence in the pound (according to
the exchequer valuation for firstfruits and tenths), and every
vicar whose benefice was of the value of 10^. or more per
annum should pay one penny in the pound to the proctor by
whom they respectively appeared in the convocation. One
moiety of this sum was to be retained by the proctor himself,
and the other moiety divided equally between the registrar and
the apparitor of the synod. And these contributions were
to be enforced under the penalty of ecclesiastical censures.
To this was added' a proviso that all members of the con-
vocation should be themselves free from the obligation of
making any such payments.

Canterbury pro- The formal '^ Opening of the Canterbury pro-
vincial Synod, vincial Synod took place this year^, in S. PauFs
cathedral, on Nov, 2, when divine service was performed, and
the usual preliminary business was transacted.

Dr. Redman William Ecdmau, archdeacon of Cantei-burv,

was again chosen as prolocutor, and a commission


was issued to five bishops, the prolocutor. Dr. Awbrey vicar-
general, the Dean of Westmin.ster, and Dr. Dunne, who were
empowered to act in case of the archbishop''s absence.

Assessors ap- Asscssors also to the"", number of fourteen
I'"'"**'''- were " assigned by the prolocutor to assist him

in the management of such business as might come before the




synod. The appointment of these gentlemen, consisting of
six cleans, live archdeacons, and three below that degree, was
unanimously assented to by the lower house, and the pro-
locutor then gave directions that no member should appear
without his clerical habit, and that such schedules of "refor-
manda" as any person had to bring forward should be handed
to himself at the ensuing session.

Business of the The synod being thus put into a position for
^y^°^- the prosecution of business, the following were

the chief matters transacted. An ° examination was set on
foot respecting the ordination or institution of unworthy per-
sons, with a view to secure the reformation of such abuses.

Orders for the Orders P Were also introduced for the better
Ing'Imong^thTh"- increase of learning in the inferior ministers, and
fenor clergj. f^j. more diligent preaching and catechising.
These were digested into seven heads. Among other things
it 1 was here provided that every unlicensed preacher, under
the degree of M.A. or B.C.L., should provide himself with a
Bible, a Latin or an English copy of Bullinger's decades, and
a paper book ; and that once a day he should read a chapter
in the Bible, and once a week a sermon in the decades, mak-
ing notes of the same in his commonplace-book, which was
to be submitted every quarter to the inspection of a neigh-
bouring pi-eacher appointed for the purpose. It was conceded,
howt -er, that the writer should not be obliged to ti-avel to
great distances in order to shew his notes ; and to relieve
from this necessity numerous examiners were to be appointed
through the country, who were to certify to the due perform-
ance of the aforesaid exercises, and their certificates were
to be returned through the archdeacons and other officials
annually to the respective diocesans. Obedience more-
over to these orders was to be enforced under ecclesiastical
censure. A proviso "^i was however added that the somewhat
remarkable exercises above specified should be the only ones
used within the southern province. This was evidently directed
against any attempt to revive the " prophesyings," which in
Archbishop Grindars time had been the cause of so much trou-
ble and dissension, but which were now happily suppressed.

It was also ordered that the catechism should
be taught, and such ministers as were not

A.D. 1586.
Q. Eliz.

o Sess. 8,
Nov. 18.

P Sess. 13,
Dec. 2,
Upp. house
Sess. 11,

1 Str)'pe's
A pp. No.
xxxii. Card.
Syn. ii. 562.

in See item





A.D. 1586.
John Whit-
gift, EUwj'n
Sand vs.

f Strype's
Whitgift, p

' Strype's
Whitgift, p.

' Strvpc's
Whitgift, p.
260, and
Card. Syn.
p. 565.

licensed preachers were now permitted to expound the points
contained in that manual of doctrine to their parishioners, not
however from the pulpit, but from the stalls only. Every
licensed preacher was directed to preach twelve sermons an-
nually within the diocese in which his benefice lay ; but if he
had two benefices, he was to preach eight sermons at each.
And of these licensed preachers six or seven were to be ap-
pointed in each diocese, either by the bishop himself, or at
least with his consent, who were to preach by course every Sun-
day in the parishes of their neighbourhood where no licensed
preacher lived, so that there should be a sermon at least once a
quarter in every parish church. But the person whose church
was thus furnished with a sermon was to find a dinner for the
preacher, and provender for his horse, and, moreover, provide for
the duty of the preacher''s church, unless the latter had a curate
of his own. These regulations, it should be observed, were not
now passed into synodical canons, but were merely exhibited
as the groundwork upon which the bishops were to found their
managements in their respective dioceses ; and these orders
were afterwards (November 1588) specially urged upon the
attention of his suffragans by Archbishop Whitgift ^

„ , , , , Some schedules of complaint were introduced

Schedules of , _ , ' _

gravamina brought into tliis syuod, by whicli it appears that the
diocese of Norwich was at that time in a lament-
able state of disorder. One ® of these schedules referred to
the diocese generally, the other was particularly confined to
the Suffolk archdeaconry.

The first* complained of improper ordinations
complaint from and institutions, of penances connnuted, of ava-

Norwich diocese. . . ,. ' ro • i o

ricious grcedmess among officials, ot excommu-
nications denounced on slender grounds, of neglect of the poor,
of the removal of good preachers and the promotion of less
worthy ones, of the exaction of fees, and of preachers who
discharged their function without licence. Upon these abuses
a request was grounded that no licence for preaching might
be granted to any man unless he conformed to the Prayer
Book, and guided his whole ministry in accordance with its
directions ; and it was prayed moreover that a restraint
might be placed upon prohibitions, and that fees might be




Schedule of The schedule '^ of complaint presented to the
Suffolk "archdea^ synod from the archdeaconry of Suffolk dis-
'^°^^^'- closes a still more lamentable state of abuse and

neglect. It sets forth that the holy communion was either
not administered at all, or at best but in part observed ; that
the surplice was discarded, holy days neglected, the elements
delivered to communicants in a sitting posture, and that per-
sons took the freedom to call those "time servers" who con-
formed to the proper usages of the Church. It declares more-
over that disorderly conduct prevailed among some of the sti-
pendiary preachers and curates, and that the questmen failed
in the performance of their duty in making their presentments.

„ , ^ , A circumstance took place durino; the sessions

Controverted _ ^ '■ =' _ _

election of a proc- of this synod which sliews that at this time, in
case of a disputed election of a clergy proc-
tor, the lower house of convocation was deemed the proper
tribunal for the decision of the"" controversy. A contested
election had taken place in one part of the diocese^ of
Norwich, and a question had arisen whether Dr. John Dey or
Mr. John Knewstubbs was the person duly returned as proc-
tor. For the disentanglement of the difficulty three gentle-
men, viz. George Gardiner, dean of Norwich, Dr. John
Walker, and Thomas Nuce, B.D., were examined on oath
tendered by the prolocutor as to the customs governing
elections in the aforesaid diocese. Certificates also were
produced on the same subject under the hands of Mr. John
Maplezden, archdeacon of Suffolk, and a notary public, toge-
ther with a deposition of one IMr. Best. The whole of the
evidence ^ went to prove that the practice had been for the
clergy of the Sudbury and Suffolk archdeaconries to choose a
proctor " alternis vicibus," i. e. if the clergy of Sudbury chose
the proctor for one convocation the clergy of Suffolk chose
for the next, and so they exercised this privilege in turns. It
moreover appeared that when it was the turn of the clergy of
one of those archdeaconries to elect, the clergy of the other
neither received any summons to appear, nor were they held
responsible to contribute towards the proctor's expenses.
It was further proved that on the present occasion it was the
turn of the Sudbury archdeaconry to choose the proctor, but
that, notwithstanding this, twenty-seven clergy of the other

A.n. 1586.
Q. Eliz.

" Strvpe's
Whitgift, p.
261, and
Card. Syn.
p 565.

* See also

on the same


Nov. ]4,


" Syn. Ang.

pt. i'i. p. 140.

= Syn. Ang.
pt. ii. pp.





A.D. 1586.
John Whit-
gift, Edwyn

y Sess. 4.
Syn. Aug.
p. 145.

* Syn. Ang.
pp. 144,145.

" Syn. Ang.
pt. ii. p. 145.

^ Svn. Ansi.
pt.'ii.p. 145.

A.D. 1587.

« Strype's

Whitgift, p.


<• Syn. Ang.

pt.ii.p. 151.

archdeaconry had voted, and that although Mr. Knewstubbs
hpd by this means a majority of eight on the gross poll, yet
that when the votes from the Suffolk archdeaconry were de-
ducted, he was left in a minority. Under these circumstances,
when Mr. Knewstubbs appeared ^ before the lower house
to shew cause why he should bo admitted as a member,
his case broke down, and the prolocutor adjudged Dr. Dey
to be the lawful proctor.

Right of curates Another point ^ was raised on this election
election of^'apror- respecting the right of curates in the diocese of
^o'- Norwich to vote for the clergy proctors, and it

was sworn before the lower house that in the opinion of those
who took the votes at the election the Norwich curates pos-
sessed no such privilege. This may be the case in that
diocese, but it is certainly no universal rule ; for in the ancient
diocese of Hereford curates have exercised that right time
out of mind, and have most justly been allowed a voice in the
election of those who are to represent the " whole clergy " in
the provincial synod. And it is indeed very much to that
body among his brethren that the writer of these pages owes
the highest honour ever conferred on him, that of a seat in
the provincial Synod of Canterbury.

It is somewhat remarkable that in this synod of 1586 there
was also a contested case respecting the proctor from the other
part of the diocese of Norwich, which seems in this as well as
in other matters to have been in a strange state of disorga-
nization. The point, however, was ^ decided by the archbishop,
and did not come before the tribunal of the lower house. The
parties*' in the last case were Mr. \V^est and ^Ir. Thorowgood.
The decision was in favour of the former gentleman.

A subsidy grant- ^''^^ Canterbury Synod met again after a short
^•i- ' recess (from Dec. 2) on the 17th of Feb.] 587 N.s.

The subsidy to the queen was the " matter now under hand ^ ;
and for the management of this business assessors were again
selected by the prolocutor, w ith consent of the lower house,
as his assistants. As we have seen above that a benevo-
lence, on account of the exigency of the times, was added to the
usual subsidy in the northern synod, so a like liberality was
exercised in the province of Canterbury. The subsidy in both
provinces, as well as the benevolence, was the same ; the




former amounting to six, the latter to three shilHngs in the
pound. When the Canterbury clergy presented their benevo-
lence to her majesty, it was accompanied with a very dutiful
address, signed with the archiepiscopal seal, in which they ^
took notice of the great benefit which the realm at large and
the clergy in particular derived from her majesty's clemency
and careful government. They acknowledged the great ex-
penses which were imposed on her majesty by the enemies of
the gospel and the kingdom, and so in token of their duty
and thankfulness they declared their joint consent in award-
ing the pecuniary aids ^ above mentioned. As in the northern
province, so here the clergy desired her majesty's authority for
making decrees to levy these contributions, and this authority
was readily given by letters patent ^ under the great seal. As
it was usual for the clergy, when they made such grants, to add
requests for some royal favour desired, or to seek redress for
some injury received, so about '^ this time and probably on
this occasion a petition at the request of the lower house was
preferred by the bishops to the queen.

A petition to This petition complained ' of the enmity shewn
the queen. jjy vulgar persous to the Church, of the hard

measure dealt out to spiritual guides, and of the harsh appli-
cation of statute law to the detriment of ecclesiastics. Notice
was taken of the pious and ready devotion with which Church
dues were formerly paid as compared with the niggardly con-
tribution to the wants of the clergy in the present day ; and
so the petition concluded by beseeching her majesty to look
with clemency on any irregularities, of which the clergy might
have been guilty, in those cases where they could not be
justly charged with enormous offences. This request was so
well received by her majesty, that an act of parliament J was
passed this session granting a most gracious^ general free

An exhortation After the busincss ^ of the subsidy was settled
of the archbishop, g^j^^j ^\^q qucen's thauks for it reported, the
archbishop ™ encouraged the archdeacons to vigilance, made
some remarks on the enmity of the House of Commons, and
exhorted the clergy to their duty ; and, on the other hand, the
lower house" requested the bishops to be circumspect in the
matters of ordinations and the fees of their officials.

A.D. 1587.
Q. Eliz.

e Strvpe's
Whitgift, p.
261. Card.
Syn. p. 566.

App. x.xxi

g Att.
Rights, p.
642. Vid.
sup. pp.
367-8, &

'' Strype's
Whitgift, p.

' Strvpe's
Whi'tgift, p.

J 29 Eliz.
c. 9.

'' Strvpe's
]). 263.
' Strvpe's
p. 262.

•o Sess. 7.

n Sess. 10,
Mar. 15.




A. D. 1587.
John Whit-

fift, Eilwyn

o Strvpe's
p. 263.

P Strypc's
p. 264.

1 St! ype's
p. 264.

' Strvpi-'s


p. 263.

Schismatical en- j^^^ i\^q attention of the synod was not only

deavours of dis- _ _ •' •'

senters, " The directed to the internal management of eccle-
D?s°cipline." " ^ siastical affairs. Dissenters were now increasing
in numbers and power through the country, and had infused
much of their leaven into the two last parliaments, which had
so far imliibed their principles as to press with much vigour
for an alteration in ecclesiastical government, and for the in-
troduction" of a strange book of religious worship into the
Church. These movements were traceable in a great measure
to the proceedings of the new disciplinarian ministers, twenty-
four in number. Two classes, as they called their religious
meetings, were formed, of which AV^arwick and Northampton
were respectively the head-quarters ; and these persons had
subscribed a book which they \vould fain have had imposed
on Churchmen, entitled " The Holy Dhc'iplhie of the Church
described in the Word of God.'''' Travers was the chief author,
and Thomas Cartwright's name, in the A\^arwick class, ap-
peared as the first subscriber. These malcontents excited
the gentry and sundry members of parliament to forward their
enterprise, and endeavoured to compass the deposition of
bishops as corrupt, of the clergy as ignorant, and to discharge
the use of the Common Prayer Book as superstitious and
popish. ^lild applications to the council and parliament were
first used in order to obtain these ends ; but if such measures
failed the more rugged expedients of force and violence ^ were
intended ; for some members of this party held that " subjects
might withstand their prince ;" and that, after admonition and
excommunication by the ministers of their own fantastical sect,
" the people might punish him, and he would cease to be their

Against such surprising and levelling principles, more espe-
cially as some of them had found favour in the parliament, the
members of this synod felt it their duty to protest. The
archbishop i himself, or at least some of his chaplains, it
seems, made written observations on this dangerous book
of '■''Holy Discipline^'''' as it was termed; and about the
time of the dissolution of this synod the members ad-
dressed her majesty in writing"^ against the book itself, as
well as against the parliamentary proceedings in connexion
with it.




The syiiod takes
exception to this

The title prefixed^ to the address of the
book. synod runs thus : " The project and platform

of outward Church government exhibited in a bill and book
to the last parliament, by such as disturb the peace of the
Church by seeking innovation, is absurd in divinity and
dangerous in policy to this state, as appeareth by the several
writings of such as are favourers and devisers thereof, and by
the bill and book itself." The synod declared in the body of
their address that they would make manifest the absurdity of
the aforesaid production as regarded divinity (at least if any
doubt could exist * in the royal mind on the subject) either at the
present moment or at any other time when her majesty might

Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 65 of 83)